Aston Villa 2 – 4 Arsenal – Match Report (041)

A thriller at Villa saw the Gunners take all three points in a dramatic end to a dramatic game with two stoppage time goals, including an own goal from former Arsenal goalkeeper Emi Martinez. We came from behind twice before storming to victory, with Oleksandr Zinchenko scored his first goal for The Arsenal to bring us level at 2 – 2 with an absolute stunner from outside the box. There were two changes from the team that lost to Manchester City on Wednesday; Ben White returned to the starting XI and Trossard displaced Martinelli in his first Premier League start for Arsenal. Jorginho retained his place as Thomas Partey has a muscle injury and Emile Smith Rowe had a place on the bench as he returns from injury. 

We started in the worst way possible with Aston Villa opening the scoring within just six minutes. Zinchenko lost the ball in midfield and Villa sprung a counter attack as Ollie Watkins made his way into the box, poorly marked by Saliba as the shot flew past Ramsdale and Arsenal fans felt a pit of dread in their stomachs that the beginning of the season had been merely a fluke and everything was starting to unravel now.

Bukayo Saka clapped back with an absolute screamer. Ben White had a cross hardly cleared and Saka smashed the ball into the roof of the net leaving Martinez with no chance to respond and claiming his 10th goal of the season so far. The level playing field didn’t last long, though, as Coutinho managed to put a low ball past Ramsdale and we entered the break 2 – 1 down.

After returning to the field, the boys looked lively with both Xhaka and Nketiah attempting to drag us back into this game. Zinchenko was the man for the job, as Ødegaard unknowingly set up a beautiful assist to him outside the box and the Ukrainian hit the shot low and hard first time, just managing to squeeze it in the post. This was Zinny’s first Premier League goal and it was a beauty. 

The full focus was on getting the third goal to take all three points back to the Emirates. Eddie came close but was off his game today as he hit the ball over the bar. Arteta responded to Eddie struggling by bringing on Martinelli for Trossard, Martinelli being lethal in these all or nothing situations. Villa had a shot saved which resulted in Ødegaard having a huge chance.

The late drama began in stoppage time as Jorginho had a shot from 20 yards out rebounded off the bar and put into the back of the net by the back of Emi Martinez’s head. The away end went mental, even more so as Martinelli scored to seal the deal in the 98th minute after Vieira played him in beautifully from clearing an Aston Villa corner. Full of drama, the best way for football to be played, we left Villa Park with the much-deserved three points which saw us regain our rightful place at the top of the table after Manchester City drew 1 – 1 with Nottingham Forest in some late drama.

Next up is Leicester away, who we previously beat 4 – 2 at home back in August. This will be another must win game to keep trying to extend our lead over City. Hopefully in this fixture Trossard will start for Eddie and we may even see Emile Smith Rowe feature. Personally, I hope to see Tierney get some decent game time soon as Zinchenko did have his moments which cost us today and Tierney is much better at sitting back when we need to defend, as well as putting in beautiful crosses for someone like Martinelli or Saka to get on the end of. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

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